United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region Kicks-Off the 2015 Campaign for the Common Good

Sold-out breakfast program featuring three nonprofit community leaders and honoring two Community Champions, Barry Rothfeld and Thomas Weddell. September 9, 2015 is officially “Live United Day” in Dutchess and Orange Counties

Denise Doring VanBuren, Gaye Mallet, and Jeannie Montano 

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Kicking off the 2015 Campaign for the Common Good on Wednesday, September 9th, United Way President & CEO Jeannie Montano noted that, “Today we’re celebrating community – that’s why we’re here.” She went on to state that with the community’s support, “United Way helped more than 101,000 individuals last year” and that her goal this year is to increase that number to help even more individuals-in-need.


Over 270 Hudson Valley business people, nonprofit organization leaders, donors, and longtime United Way volunteers were in attendance at the sold-out breakfast program at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel on Wednesday morning.


Denise Doring VanBuren, Vice President of Communications at Central Hudson, served as master of ceremonies for the program that included presentations by Grace Smith House Executive Director Michele Pollock Rich, Hudson Valley CA$H Coalition co-chair David Weaving, Hudson Valley Seed Founder and Executive Director Ava Bynum. Bynum, who noted that without the initial United Way support her program, which now reaches 3,000 students, might never have come to fruition. Bynum illustrated how she introduces children to the taste of fresh vegetables, offering samples of cherry tomatoes just picked at Gardiner’s Four Winds Farm.


Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus introduced 2015 Community Champion honoree Thomas Weddell, a managing partner at Vanacore, DeBenedictus, DiGovanni & Weddell, LLP. Weddell is a longtime United Way volunteer, supporter, and member of the 2015 Campaign Leadership Team.


Barry Rothfeld, recently retired publisher of the Poughkeepsie Journal and Board Chair of United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region, was the other recipient of the 2015 Community Champion Award. Rothfeld was introduced by Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro, who reflected on the importance of Rothfeld’s work on behalf of the community.


In addition, the County Executives presented Barry Rothfeld and Jeannie Montano with proclamations declaring that today, September 9th, is “LIVE UNITED” Day in Dutchess and Orange Counties.


The 2015 Campaign for the Common Good Chair, Gaye Mallet, Director of Human Resources at Adams Fairacre Farms, introduced the members of her Campaign Leadership Team and vice chair Kevin Cleary of IBM, who is also a Board Member of United Way. In addition she recognized the Loaned Executives and Employee Campaign Managers who play such a crucial role in United Way’s Workplace Campaigns.


Mallet noted that this year’s workplace campaign goal is $1.8 million – and almost 10% of that goal has already been reached.


This year’s Pacesetter Organizations (campaigns that are run before the official kick-off), Mallet noted, have helped United Way “raise to date $177,956, which is 9.9% of our campaign goal for this year.” She concluded “I think your great example will motivate each of us to help make our own workplace campaigns stronger this year….and together we can, and will make our community stronger.”


People in attendance remarked on the amazing energy in the room as they were inspired by the speakers and hearing about the positive changes that were made possible through United Way funding.


United Way introduced a new way to donate through a mobile application. The audience could text to 41444 with keyword UWDOR to make an instant donation to the campaign. This mobile giving opportunity will be available throughout the week for to give an opportunity to join the “kick-off” of the campaign for those who were not able to attend today’s event.


As Denise Doring VanBuren noted as she closed the program, “Let’s ALL Live United.”



United Way Sponsors

2015 Corporate Grand Sponsors: Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp., Orange & Rockland Utilities, Inc., Poughkeepsie Journal. 2015 Corporate Platinum Sponsors: IBM Corporation, Adams Fairacre Farms, A.J. Ross Creative Media, Orange County Trust Company, Vanacore, DeBenedictus, DiGovanni & Weddell, LLP. 2015 Corporate Silver Sponsors: Arthur DeDominicis Accountant & Consultants, Frontier Communications. 2015 Corporate Leadership Supporters: Catania, Mahon, Milligram & Rider, PLLC, Dutchess Community College, Merrill Lynch: The Cassalina, Dolan, Cassalina Group, Rose & Kiernan, Inc. 2015 Corporate Business Supporter: SUNY Orange. 2015 Kick-Off Breakfast Sponsors: Silver: Dutchess County Economic Development Agency (silver), HVNN.com (media), LCS Companies (business).


Read a report on the Campaign Kick-Off in the Poughkeepsie Journal